Ontario renews vow to close privately owned MJ dispensaries

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As Ontario prepares to roll out its marijuana legislation Wednesday, the province doesn’t appear to be backing away from its pledge to block private enterprises from selling recreational cannabis.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters that the province’s forthcoming cannabis legislation should “shut down” privately owned dispensaries operating illegally, according to the Toronto Star.

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi is set to introduce a bill Wednesday that will lay out Ontario’s rules for recreational marijuana when the federal government legalizes adult-use cannabis, which is slated to occur next summer.

Here’s what you need to know about Ontario’s retail plan:

  • Ontario’s proposed regulatory framework calls for a state-run monopoly to sell adult-use cannabis online and in stores.
  • The government hopes to have 40 cannabis outlets by July 2018 and 150 up and running by 2020.
  • Taxpayers are going to be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars to establish the outlets.
  • The cannabis industry has been urging the province to reconsider the plan.
  • The province left the door open — ever so slightly — for the eventual licensing of cannabis-consumption lounges.
  • Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are probably going to take Ontario’s lead in monopolizing marijuana sales.

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